Few of the shops in the Islamabad that supply art related items have a complete control over the market and collude to set prices according to their whim, duping naive customers. This exploitation is possible because there are not many well-known stores which can cater to the growing need. Materials are already prohibitively expensive, and these shopkeepers are taking an undue advantage of any increase in demand of items to increase the prices drastically whenever they feel like. One such store is known as a specialist in the F-10 area. It enjoys absolute power in the market when it comes to setting the prices. This was brought to light when up to 90 students of my art class bought the same sheet of drawing paper for different price ranging from Rs 600–900. The sheet in question actually costs only Rs 350 in other shops which are unfortunately less well-known.

Such exploitation is stunting the growth of artistic freedom in our city, where art appreciation is still in its early stages. Art students should explore markets for other more reasonable suppliers, thus breaking the grip these shops have over the market. The authorities should take serious notice of such shops and the monopoly they have and put a stop to it.

BUSHRA MANSOOR,

Islamabad, December 14.